Federal Candidate Nominees’ Statements on Proportional Representation

There are several nomination meetings for candidates in the next federal election taking place over the next few weeks. The Fair Vote Canada Waterloo Region Chapter asked local nominees where they stand on Proportional Representation:

Fair Vote Canada is a national, multi-partisan citizens’ campaign for a more proportional voting system. Proportional representation means that if a party gets 30% of the vote, they get roughly 30% of the seats, and a voter’s sincere vote will count.

We would like to let our supporters in Kitchener Centre know where candidates seeking nominations stand on proportional representation. Would you kindly be able to provide us with a short statement outlining your position on this issue? We will be sending out any statements we receive by the middle of next week.

Thank you so much for your attention and I hope to hear from you soon.

Anita Nickerson
Fair Vote Canada Action Coordinator

Sharon Sommerville
Co-chair, FVC Waterloo Region

Here are the nominees’ replies. This post will be updated as more replies are received.

Kitchener-Centre

Liberal

The date for the nomination meeting has not been set, but could be announced anytime. You need to be a member for 14 days before the meeting to vote.

Nominees:

NDP

No candidates have been announced yet.

Green

The nomination meeting is March 1, 4 PM, at the Adult Recreation Centre. You need to have been a member for 30 days to vote, but lapsed members who were members in the last year can renew at the meeting and vote.

Nominees:

Waterloo

Liberal

The Liberal nomination meeting is on February 22. Unfortunately, the
deadline to sign up as a member (Jan 27) has passed.

Nominees:

NDP

No candidates have been announced yet.

Green

The nomination meeting is March 1.

Nominees:

Kitchener-Conestoga

Liberal

The Liberal Party nomination meeting is on Wednesday, 18 February 2015, 7:00pm at the St. Agatha Community Centre.

Kitchener South — Hespeler

Conservative

Nominees:

  • Chad Bernard
  • Marian Meinen
  • Ken Zelazny

Statements by Nominees

Cathy Maclellan, nominee for Liberal candidate in Waterloo
Nominee website: http://www.votecathy.ca/

Cathy has been a long time supporter of Fair Vote Canada and a frequent participant or speaker at Fair Vote Canada Waterloo events.

Dan Herman, nominee for Liberal candidate in Waterloo
Nominee website: http://www.danherman.ca

Dan supports proportional representation.

Nicholas Wendler, nominee for Green candidate in Kitchener-Centre
Nicholas Wendler is planning to seek the nomination for the Greens. There
is no nomination meeting set yet.

I do support Proportional Representation. As a person with a physical disability which is a form of diversity with which I live, I feel everyone should count in Canada and therefore be represented in the House of Commons. In order to speak to the various issues Canadians face, we need representation from the various voices in Canada to reach a full understanding of, and response to the issues. If buildings are designed by people who go through life on their two legs instead of including people who have visual or hearing impairments or people who roll around via wheelchairs, you’re going to have very different results between the two alternatives. One would likely include a few more staircases. Depending on needs, people of other forms of diversity may have varying designs due to the way they would use features of the building. The best design is one that includes the input of all involved to achieve the best from each perspective.

In terms of the electoral system, proportional representation allows each party to be represented as a reflection of how the voters cast their ballot. The current system allows only the person with the most votes (and the party they represent) to gain voice in the House of Commons. Issues addressed by the other parties and candidates in a given riding may gain votes, but if the votes for those issues and candidates are fewer than another, they do not have a voice unless the winning candidate also addresses those issues. Elected members of Parliament need to work together to move toward a system of proportional representation and allow all voices to be heard and counted in future elections.

Betsey Daub, nominee for Liberal candidate in Kitchener-Conestoga
Nominee website: http://betseydaub.com

I support electoral reform to implement proportional representation. If elected, I will advocate within the Liberal Party and the House of Commons for proprotional representation at all levels of government.

Tony Maas, nominee for Liberal candidate in Kitchener-Centre
Nominee website: http://tonymaas.ca

Campaign to Nominate Tony Maas
Liberal Party of Canada Candidate for
Kitchener Centre in 2015

February 12, 2015

Dear Anita and Sharon:

I would like to express my personal thanks to you and to Fair Vote Canada for reaching out regarding my position on proportional representation, and for the important work you are doing to raise awareness about and advocate for electoral reform in Canada.

I have long believed that Canada’s electoral system is out of date. It is troubling to me, as it is to a growing number of people, that 37% of the popular vote can return a majority government: this, in my view, is not a reflection of a modern democracy.

I am happy to share with you that I fully support moving to an electoral system based on proportional representation. I support the Liberal Party of Canada’s policy resolution on the issue, which indicates that, immediately following the next election an all-party process will be initiated to engage experts and citizens to report to Parliament with recommendations on voting system reform, including consideration of proportional representation.

I commit, personally, that if elected to Parliament I will advocate for electoral reform and a system of proportional representation both within the Liberal Party caucus and in Parliament. It is time for a federal government in Canada to show leadership and to take action on rebuilding trust in our democracy; that must include bringing our voting system into the 21st century. I believe that for us to flourish as a country – economically, social, culturally and environmentally – we need revitalize our democracy through electoral reform and proportional representation.

Please feel free to share my perspective, in whole or in part, with your organization’s supporters and others. And thanks again for the amazing work you are doing on this issue.

Sincerely,

Tony Maas
Qualified Nomination Contestant for
Liberal Party of Canada in Kitchener Centre
tony@tonymaas.ca
@TonyMaas

Richard Walsh-Bowers, nominee for Green candidate in Waterloo
Nominee website: http://www.richardwalsh.ca

Statement for Fair Vote Canada – Waterloo Region [18/1/15]

Ever since my first federal election campaign (Fall 2000 when I ran in Waterloo for the New Democrats) I have explicitly supported democratic reform and proportional representation in the House of Commons. The Law Reform Commission of Canada (LRCC), which was rendered defunct early in the Harper government’s tenure, released a report on Canada’s electoral system prior to the 2004 election. When I ran in that election in Kitchener Centre as the NDP candidate, I supported the LRCC’s recommendation that Canada make the transition from our first-past-the-post (FPTP) system to the mixed method of proportional representation (MMPR), which is successfully employed in Germany and many other nations. I reiterated my position during the 2006 election, when I again was the NDP candidate in Kitchener Centre. During the last federal election, when I ran as an independent candidate in Waterloo, I made democratic reform generally and advocacy for MMPR specifically integral features of my campaign. (My 2011 platform is available at www.richardwalsh.ca .) My view then – and now – is that the Canadian parliamentary system is fundamentally undemocratic but its transformation through MMPR could salvage it. Alas, the need for MMPR is even more acute, because the Conservative government instituted changes to the election laws that make detection of voter fraud very unlikely.

So, why do I support MMPR? The FPTP system rewards political parties for focusing on particular regions and constituencies, while virtually ignoring other regions and constituencies, which distorts representation in the House; furthermore, FPTP diminishes the chances of smaller parties to win seats. In short, it is blatantly undemocratic. The “preferential ballot” system has the advantage of reaching across the extant (i.e., narrow) political spectrum but the decided disadvantage of diminishing the chances of smaller parties. Thus, it is unacceptable. MMPR, on the other hand, combines local and party representation. It likely is imperfect, but it’s the best option to renew and preserve electoral democracy across Canada.

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